Over the past 15 years, Venice has become one of the word's most important cruise destinations, with up to nine cruise turnarounds a day in high season. But there are growing fears about the impact of the giant vessels on the fragile city and the risk they pose to its infrastructure and inhabitants. (They pass within 300 meters of St Mark's Square.) These concerns have been heightened by the disaster of the Costa Concordia which sank off the Tuscan Island of Giglio in 2012.
The Italian Prime Minister, Enrico Letta, has approved plans to begin limiting large cruise ship traffic in the lagoon, with the biggest vessels of more than 96,000 tonnes to be banned from November 2014. However the announcement glosses over the fact that about 475 relatively large ships (for comparison, the Titanic was only 46,000 tonnes) will enter Venice next year.